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  La CathŽdrale engloutie (arr. 1975) CLAUDE DEBUSSY (arr. Robert C. Longfield) Debussy wrote the first book of PrŽludes for the piano in 1910. The PrŽludes are a collection of exotic (for a turn-of-the-century Frenchman) images, describing the flaxen hair of a Scottish girl, the gate of the Alhambra in Spain, Indian mountainsides, and other scenes. “The Engulfed Cathedral” describes the legendary cathedral of Ys, said to rise from the sea off the coast of the Breton province of Armorique. Debussy spoke of his own compositions: “what I am trying to do is something Ôdifferent’Ñan effect of reality...” He instructed performers of his piano works to imagine that the piano was an instrument without hammers. Robert Longfield’s arrangement translates this work for “hammerless” piano into the noble sonorities of the concert band. The French horns sound a chant-like theme, voiced like the “organum” of the early church; the flutes, harp and pitched percussion depict the sparkle of sunlight in rippling waves. At the climax of the piece one can almost see the great cathedral rising majestically from the deep. At the conclusion, the church disappears into the mists; in the words of Beaudelaire’s poetry, “sounds and scents wafting about in the air of the evening.”
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